A Bedtime Story for Kimberly
Author: Joanna Bordelon
Character Code: T'Sel/Rua, T'ai (S/Saa), f
Summary: Kimberly can't go to sleep.
Disclaimer: Star Trek is copyrighted by Paramount/Viacom.
Archive: Fine but let me know where, thanks.
The door opened to reveal Jake Wortham and his five-year-old daughter, Kimberly. Jake carried a small bag and was obviously distraught.
"Enter, Jake Wortham," said T'Selis. She motioned to the sitting area. After Jake was seated, she poured three glasses of water from the carafe on the table. "You honor us with your visit, Kimberly," said T'Selis gently. Kimberly took the glass and drank slowly as she had been instructed by her father. She had never been in a Vulcan
home before. She was tutored at the Terran embassy and didn't really even know any Vulcan children very well. Her eyes strayed around the room while her father spoke.
"Thank You T'Selis, I didn't know what to do. With Kimmie's mother out to space, I don't have any relatives on Vulcan. Some friends at the embassy offered to watch her for me, but they don't have any kids. I just didn't think she'd be comfortable."
"Is there news of your parents yet, Jake?"
"The crash was bad, but they're expected to recover. They'll need some help for a while though. Eva is on her way here. Her ship was only a few light-years out. She should arrive tomorrow evening. She knows how to contact you if there are any delays. I hated the thought of having to take Kimmie to Earth, just because I'll miss Eva by one
Their discussion was interrupted by sounds of running feet and yelling. "Give it back, S'taren."
"I need it, T'ai. It is the only tricorder in the house. My project is due tomorrow. You have until next week."
"If you had been working on it as you should have, it would be done."
"Enough!" commanded T'Selis to the voices in the hallway. "Come here, please."
The two seven year olds came out of the hall and into the sitting room. When they saw that there were guests, they knew T'Selis would *discuss* their outburst later. Jake stifled a grin, when he saw their expressions. These kids were obviously in for it.
The children of the house assumed the stance of respect in front of T'Selis and her guests. Eyes front, hands behind their backs. "Peace and Long Life," they chorused.
"And to you, young ones," responded Jake.
"We will *discuss* your outburst later. Children, this is Kimberly Wortham, she will be staying the night. Escort her to the nursery, and show her where she can put her things, please."
S'taren took the overnight bag from Mr. Wortham, and the children motioned for Kimberly to follow. After a long hug for her father, she trailed after them. T'Selis was impressed at the lack of anxiety in the child at being left.
"She understands, why I have to go. She'll be fine," Jake said, mostly to convince himself."Well, I guess that's that. Thank You and your House again, T'Selis."
T'Selis led Jake to the door. "It is our honor to serve, Jake Wortham."
Jake did manage to leave the house, but T'Selis noticed considerably more anxiety on his part, than she had on his daughter's.
In the nursery, the children showed Kimberly to a sleeping alcove. Kimberly was surprised to see more of a couch without arms than a bed with mattresses. "Where will you sleep?" she asked.
"There is another bigger alcove. S'taren and I can share it."
"You share your room with a boy?" asked an astounded Kimberly.
"Neither of us is bonded. We have shared a room since we were born," answered S'taren.
"Are you twins?"
Both children stifled a giggle. "Everyone asks that. Our parents think we look alike too. *I* am older by four months," responded T'ai. "My parents are Spock and Saavik 'cha Sarek."
"Mine are Ruanek and T'Selis ir-Havran tr'Strevon. My father is Romulan."
"Why do you do that?" questioned T'ai. "My mother is half-Romulan and I do not introduce her that way. I think you do it just to see if people react."
"I do not," countered S'taren. "I am proud of it."
"Pride is an emotion," chastised his cousin. Pride was not the only emotion S'taren was about to show.
"What's a Romulan?" asked Kimberly, who had been monitoring the conversation between the two older children intently. Both children stared.
Then T'ai thought to ask, "How old are you Kimberly?"
"Oh, *I* can tell you all about Romulans...," began S'taren.
T'ai put her arm around the girl protectively, and advised. "Do not listen to his stories. I never do. Let us go see if there are Kreyla in the kitchen." T'ai led Kimberly out. "I suggest you finish your project, S'taren."
S'taren did not follow, for fear his mother would observe his lack of control.
T'ai spent the better part of the afternoon trying to keep her younger guest Kimberly away from S'taren. They had a snack. They explored the back garden and greenhouse. T'ai grilled the human child on every subject imaginable, though she remembered her manners and began every question with "May I ask,".
"May I ask, where is your mother?"
"She is coming home. She is a doctor on the USS Farragut."
"May I ask, how your parents know T'Selis?"
"T'Selis and my mother are friends. T'Selis was my mother's teacher at the Vulcan Academy."
"May I ask, what activities you favor?"
"I like to play dolls. When Daddy is home, we play hide and seek in the embassy. I like to go on my mother's ship, when she is here."
"I like that too. I have toured all the Starfleet ships that my mother has arrived on, including the Farragut."
T'ai noticed Kimberly eyeing the grand piano in the corner. "My grandmother, Mi Perrin, taught me how to play the piano when I was two. Now an instructor comes because Mi Perrin is not here very often. Do you want me to play for you?"
"Yes, please," answered Kimberly.
T'ai played the piano for Kimberly, who was amazed at the older girl's skill. Kimberly had just begun lessons and was only on the first level. T'ai was glad to have an audience and played until Kimberly yawned on the bench next to her.
"Are you tired? Younger children sometimes nap in the afternoon. Do you want a nap?"
"Yes, please," mumbled Kimberly.
T'ai requested S'taren leave the nursery and saw that Kimberly was comfortably placed in the sleeping alcove. During the time Kimberly slept, T'Selis had her *discussion* with the children about their behavior earlier. T'ai was told to go and mediate. S'taren was told not to cease working on his project, and to T'ai's approval, that if
he had planned better, he would have had ample time to use the tricorder they had argued over.
Kimberly woke to a man's gentle face. "You must be Kimberly," he said.
"Who are you?" she answered. A little scared of the unfamiliar face.
"I am Ruanek tr'Strevon adun T'Selis. Welcome to our home. Shall we go find the rest of the household?" Ruanek picked Kimberly up in one strong arm and hefted her down the hall. "Where should we look first? The sitting area?"
They found T'Selis in the kitchen finishing up dinner preparations and went to wash their hands. T'Selis ran the household on a very tight schedule and at 1700 all were present at the table.
"How went your day, my children?" Ruanek asked the same question in the same way at the end of every last meal. T'ai and S'taren looked at each other, hoping that T'Selis would not bring up the *discussion*.
"They have been very busy, my husband. T'ai has been an excellent hostess, while *your* son is completing a school project that is due tomorrow."
The accent on *your* was not lost on S'taren's father. "Why is it not already complete? We have spoken to you before about leaving school work until the last second. Perhaps we should monitor your extra-curricular activities more closely."
"No, Father. I will do better. Besides my project is finished."
"And what does this project entail?" T'Selis asked the same question on everyone's mind.
"You will see at exactly 2100," replied S'taren.
All the children had used the fresher and were in their sleep shifts at 2030. As they had been taught, they were meditating in solitude before retiring. Ruanek amused Kimberly in the sitting room. He was using some sort of gambling chips which he had pulled from his pocket. "Will I have to explain to Eva, where her child learned this
game, my husband?"
"It is harmless, my wife. The child is enjoying it."
"Is this a *Romulan* game, Ruanek?" asked Kimberly. Ever since the children's earlier discussion, Romulans had been on her mind.
"Yes, I learned it when I was a child." Ruanek's response was obviously pointed at his wife.
"And we see the result, my husband," plied T'Selis. Ruanek wagged his finger playfully in a way that meant he would pay that comment back later.
T'ai entered just before 2100 to retrieve Kimberly. Suddenly the lights went out all over the house. Somewhere the cry, "Hei-ya-hai!" was heard from the back of the house. Kimberly ran for T'ai for comfort as T'Selis and Ruanek answered the cry, "S'taren i-Havran tr'Strevon come here now!" T'ai tried not to react as she had only just finished meditating, but giggles were forthcoming.
They could hear someone stumbling down the hallway.
"Do not tell me that *this* is your project, S'taren," commanded Ruanek.
S'taren did not answer. "I see. Do you mind telling me the objective of this project?"
"It is a decryption algorithm. I used it on the ciphers in the house power subsystem."
"And when will the subsystem reset itself?"
"Oh," was all that escaped S'taren's lips.
"T'Selis take the children to the nursery please. It seems I have some damage control to perform."
T'Selis ensconced the children in the nursery and left to help Ruanek. T'ai and Kimberly ended up together in the bigger alcove because Kimberly was scared by the power outage. T'ai found it hard to maintain her psi controls whenever Kimberly's fearful hand reached for hers, but she did not withhold her comfort.
Finally T'ai could not contain her curiosity. "Why *did* you need the tricorder, S'taren?"
"I tried the algorithm out on the nursery fresher first. I used it to check if the circuits were disabled."
"Did you enable it again?"
"I have to go to the bathroom," interrupted Kimberly.
"Oh." S'taren stared at the ceiling in the darkness while T'ai helped Kimberly to the hall bathroom. When they returned, S'taren said, "It is as dark as when we have camped in the desert for the Kahswan preparation."
"It is going to be as hot as the desert if Vadi Ruanek cannot get the power subsystem on by sunrise."
Kimberly began to weep a little. S'taren came over to their alcove. "What is she *doing*?" he asked.
"She is crying. Your *project* has scared her." Suddenly S'taren began to regret his success at removing the power. He had not considered all the consequences, and upset their guest. Vulcan children had the laws of hospitality ingrained in them from an early age. He wanted to make amends.
"Kimberly, may I ask, why are you crying?" S'taren queried.
"I want my Daddy."
"It is illogical to cry for your Daddy. He cannot hear you. He has to go help your grandparents. Crying will not bring him here." Kimberly cried harder.
S'taren tried a different tack. "What does your father do for you before bed? Does he bring you water? Does he tuck the sheets under you?"
"He tells me a story."
"No, S'taren not one of your stories," warned T'ai. "We want her to *quit* crying."
"I will tell a nice story, a *Romulan* story, if you will quit crying. Will you?"
"Yes," sniffed Kimberly.
It was very dark in the unlit house. T'ai was uncertain if S'taren knew any nice stories. He only ever solicited his father for gory battle stories. She thought Kimberly might get scared again. Still S'taren began to speak.
"Once upon a time there was a lonely prince. His name was Shiarkiek. He searched his realm for a worthy woman to take for his wife. He was young, wise and strong and had proven himself in battle, yet yearned for a woman he could not name. Royal families throughout his empire sent gifts and invitations to their holdings in order to introduce
their daughters. All of them were young, and unaccomplished. Some were beautiful, but they were not who he sought.
During one of these visits, to the house tr'Raillieu he entered a room to find the mother of the house staring at a painting of a beautiful warrior.
'Her name was Aev'rhil. By rights I should have offered you my eldest, but she is gone two years with no word. We have no male children. She left us to fight the enemies of the empire and bring glory and honor to our family. We gave her a ship and a fine crew and wished her well. Had I known then of the woman you now seek, I would
never have let her go,' said the mother.
At the woman's words, Shiarkiek set the beautiful warrior in his heart.
'I will find her,' he pledged. 'I will find her and take her for my own.'
'And you will have the blessings of her family,' replied the mother gratefully.
And so Shiarkiek left his planet in search of the Aev'rhil ir-Havran tr'Raillieu who would be his wife.
He traveled through the stars for many months until at last his crew became restless and bored.
'We came with you in hopes of winning glory and honor for our families and people. But you no longer have any interest in those things, you yearn for someone who is surely dead. Let us go home,' they pleaded.
Though discouraged, Shiarkiek refused to give up his dream. Determined to repay the kindness of his crew and relieve his own disappointment, he fought battle after battle with the evil Klingons. Soon all Klingons had heard of the mad prince and the warrior woman he sought.
'We must find her,' they cried. 'We must find her or the prince will never give us peace.' But the Klingons could not find her, so they devised a plan to catch the prince and kill him.
One day when he was about to slay another of his enemies, the fearful soul cried out. 'I know of the one you seek. Spare me and I will take you to her.'
Shiarkiek withheld his blow. 'If you tell me where she is, and I find her alive. You shall live.'
'There is a hole in space,' said the Klingon. 'We have imprisoned her on a planet on the other side. Your ship is too big to enter, take a smaller one and rescue her yourself. She is not guarded save by the entrance to the hole.'
Shairkiek's crew urged him not to go. They tried to convince him of a trap, but Shiarkiek yearned for her and had pledged to her mother that he would return with her. *Mnhei'sahe* determined that he should go.
Now the Klingons indeed possessed a hole in space as described. It was unstable and whenever a ship passed through it collapsed, sometimes for hundreds of years. They knew that after the prince passed through, he would be gone and they could descend upon his crew with their fleet and repay the dishonor he had heaped upon them.
So Shiarkiek took a small ship and left his crew to enter the hole at the appointed place. And just as he was about to enter a fine ship appeared and fired upon him. His small ship was disabled and he hit his head.
When he awoke he was bound tightly and before him stood the beautiful warrior he had come to find.
'I have heard you search for me,' she asked suspiciously. 'Do you seek to dishonor me or my people?'
'Truly, I have sought you, but not to dishonor you. I have pledged your mother to bring you home and she has promised me your hand. I am Prince Shiarkiek.'
At hearing his name, she quickly released him from his bonds.
'If my mother has said it, I must honor it, but first I have a matter of *Mnhei'sahe* to take care of. I and my crew have yet to fight a glorious enough battle to insure my family of the honor I have promised them. Tell me Sire, How is it that you are here alone?'
Shiarkiek told her of the Klingon and his tale.
'But I have never been in the Klingons hands, surely this is treachery. We must away to your ship and crew before the Klingons can descend upon them.'
And when Aev'rhil and Shiarkiek arrived a glorious battle raged in the heavens. As their ship descended upon the Klingons, Aev'rhil and Shiarkiek commanded her ship as one and together with Shiarkiek's crew, the Klingons were defeated.
And so the two ships returned to Ch'Rihan together and Shiarkiek presented Aev'rhil to her mother and her mother presented Shiarkiek Aev'rhil's hand. And at the wedding the story was told of how Aev'rhil saved her Love and how together they defeated the might of the Klingon empire and sent them home in defeat."
Then S'taren paused as the lights came up in the house, and seeing the scene in front of him, he quickly dimmed the lights again.
Kimberly and T'ai were asleep.